Integrating human‐centred design into the development of an intervention to improve the mental wellbeing of young women in the perinatal period: the Catalyst project

Tatiana Taylor Salisbury*, Katie H. Atmore, Inocencia Nhambongo, Muanacha Mintade, Luciana Massinga, Jak Spencer, Jonathan West, Flavio Mandlate

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mental wellbeing during pregnancy and the year after birth is critical to a range of maternal and infant outcomes. Many mental health interventions fail to incorporate stakeholder perspectives. The Catalyst Project aimed to work with key stakeholders in Mozambique to develop interventions and delivery strategies which were in-line with existing evidence and the needs, goals, and priorities of those both directly and indirectly involved in its success. Methods: A qualitative, human-centred design approach was utilised. Focus-group discussions, individual interviews, and observations with young women (aged 16–24 years), their families, community leaders, service providers and government were used to better understand the needs, priorities and challenges to mental wellbeing of young women. These findings were triangulated with the literature to determine priority challenges to be addressed by an intervention. Stakeholder workshops were held to identify potential solutions and co-develop an intervention and delivery strategy. Results: The 65 participants comprised 23 young pregnant women or new mothers, 12 family members, 19 service providers and 11 staff from the Ministry of Health. Participants highlighted significant uncertainty related to living situations, financial status, education, social support, and limited knowledge of what to expect of the impact of pregnancy and parenting. Family and community support were identified as an important need among this group. The Mama Felíz (Happy Mama) programme was developed with stakeholders as a course to strengthen pregnancy, childbirth and child development knowledge, and build positive relationships, problem-solving and parenting skills. In addition, family sessions address wider cultural and gender issues which impact adolescent maternal wellbeing. Conclusions: We have developed an intervention to reduce the risk of poor maternal mental health and gives young mothers hope and skills to make a better life for them and their children by packaging information about the risk and protective factors for maternal mental disorders in a way that appeals to them, their families and service providers. By using human-centred design to understand the needs and priorities of young mothers and the health and community systems in which they live, the resulting intervention and delivery strategy is one that stakeholders view as appropriate and acceptable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number183
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Adolescent mothers
  • Intervention development
  • Maternal mental health
  • Public health


Dive into the research topics of 'Integrating human‐centred design into the development of an intervention to improve the mental wellbeing of young women in the perinatal period: the Catalyst project'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this